Communicator Transcription Guidelines Version 1.2, March 9, 2000 This document contains the specification for transcription of speech in the Communicator program. Per the Communicator Evaluation Committee’s request, with the exception of spelled letters, a proper subset of the final ATIS transcription specifications is used. The transcription is intended to be an orthographic lexical transcription with a few details included to represent audible acoustic events (speech and non-speech) present in the corresponding waveform files. Transcription may be made in two passes: the first pass in which words are transcribed and an optional second pass in which additional details (non-speech phenomena) may be added. Many non-speech phenomena (loud inhalations, coughing, hissing, smacking, TV-in-background, etc.) are easy to miss unless specifically attended to. For Communicator, the annotation of these non-speech artifacts is not required, but it is supported for those sites who wish to record such information. Note, however, that these non-speech annotations will be ignored in scoring. Transcriptions developed using these guidelines will be referred to as CTF (Communicator Transcription Format) transcripts and may be stored in a file with a .ctf extension. Required transcription rules: 1. Case Transcriptions may use normal capitalization. However, case will be ignored in scoring. 2. Spelling Follow American Heritage Dictionary (AHD) conventions where possible. 3. Number Sequences Transcribe number sequences (flight numbers, times, dates, aircraft types, dollar amounts, etc.) as spoken in word form. For example, flight six one three flight six thirteen seven thirty august twenty first seven forty seven Note: Care should be taken to transcribe the digit "0" as "zero" or "oh", depending on what the speaker said. 4. Letter Sequences Spoken letters occur in acronyms and abbreviations. Transcribe each spoken letter in lower case followed a period and a space. For example, d. f. w. five thirty p. m. washington d. c. Transcribe inflections of letters as if they were inflections of words. For example, b. s.ing (no space between s. and ing) i. d.ed him the t. i.er's last name i. b. m.'s new machine the ten c. e. o.s' votes If a speaker pronounces an acronym or abbreviation as a word, transcribe it as a word (e.g., "den" or "bos"), rather than as separate letters (not "d. e. n." or "b. o. s."). 5. Contractions When a standard orthographic form exists for a contraction and the contraction is actually spoken, transcribe it as spoken (e.g., "can't"; "don't"; "i'd"; "we'd", "y'all"). For verbal contractions in which words are phonetically reduced and elided, if a written version of the contraction does not exist in formal American English, use the expanded form of the constituent words. For example, Spoken Transcribed wanna want to wanna want a gonna going to hafta have to useta used to oughta ought to sonova son of a 6. New or Invented Words For new or invented words, if each constituent can stand alone as an independent word, transcribe the constituents as hyphenated words or separate words. Otherwise, concatenate the constituents without a hyphen. Bear in mind that hyphens are treated as whitespace in scoring speech recognition accuracy. For example, Spoken Transcribed ecommerce e-commerce (or e commerce) cybercafe cybercafe (not cyber-cafe) cancelbot cancel-bot (or cancel bot) In the last example, "bot" is considered to be a legitimate word. 7. Compound Words Follow the AHD for hyphenation of common compound words. If the word is not in the AHD, follow the convention for new or invented words in section 6. For example, In AHD nonstop nonsmoking time-share Not in AHD under-floor column (or under floor column) The existence of such a compound word does not preclude the use of its component words independently in different contexts. For example, the following should be transcribed as shown (with both "after noon" and "afternoon"). seven p. m. is after noon but it is in the evening not in the afternoon 8. Punctuation Do not use any English sentence punctuation such as periods, commas, question marks, exclamation marks, etc. Transcribe only the special abbreviations "Mr.", "Ms.", and "Mrs." in their abbreviated form. All other words should be represented in their full spelled-out form. Use only 7-bit ASCII characters. Do not use accent marks on foreign imported words (e.g, "fiance" not "fiancé"). 9. Mispronunciations If a speaker mispronounces a word and the mispronunciation cannot be interpreted as another properly pronounced word, transcribe the word as it is spoken, surrounded with asterisks. For example, show me flights from *atlanty* to dallas 10. Pause Fillers Transcribe pause fillers as words enclosed in square brackets. If possible, try to limit these to this list: [uh], [um], [er], [ah], [mm]. 11. Word Fragments If a speaker does not completely pronounce a word, spell out the fragment of the word that was spoken followed by a hyphen to indicate the missing portion of the word. For example, show me the fli- flights to boston Optionally, if the identity of the fragmented word is obvious, the missing portion of the fragmented word can be shown in parentheses. The example above can be transcribed as: show me the fli(ghts)- flights to boston The spoken fragment convention should also be used for false starts/restarts in which words are cut off. For example, i- i need a flight on Thursday (where the first i was not completely pronounced). Within word hesitations may be transcribed as: dal- -as (indicating a silence interrupting a word) dal- [um] -las (indicating a within word interruption - rare) Note that fragments will be scored as optionally deletable words. 12. Yes/No Sounds Transcribe as spoken. Do not enclose it with square brackets. For example, yep nope yup nah um-hum hum-um uh-huh uh-uh mm-hmm hmm-mm 13. Other Acoustic Events Other non-speech acoustic artifacts may be transcribed with a string enclosed by square brackets [description_of_event]. It is suggested that this convention be used sparingly. A list of some possible non-speech artifacts is given below. [TV] [baby] [baby_crying] [baby_talking] [barking] [beep] [bell] [bird_squawk] [breathing] [buzz] [buzzer] [child] [child_crying] [child_laughing] [child_talking] [child_whining] [child_yelling] [children] [children_talking] [children_yelling] [chiming] [clanging] [clanking] [click] [clicking] [clink] [clinking] [cough] [dishes] [door] [footsteps] [gasp] [groan] [hiss] [horn] [hum] [inhaling] [laughter] [meow] [motorcycle] [music] [noise] [nose_blowing] [phone_ringing] [popping] [pounding] [printer] [rattling] [ringing] [rustling] [scratching] [screeching] [sigh] [singing] [siren] [smack] [sneezing] [sniffing] [snorting] [squawking] [squeak] [static] [swallowing] [talking] [tapping] [throat_clearing] [thumping] [tone] [tones] [trill] [tsk] [typewriter] [ugh] [wheezing] [whispering] [whistling] [yawning] [yelling] As noted in the Switchboard Transcription, "effort expended on extremely detailed marking of noise has not proven productive to date." Note that these annotations will be ignored in scoring. 14. Nonstandard Grammar Do not attempt to correct nonstandard grammar. If a phrase such as, "i'd like to take them flights" was spoken, transcribe it as it was spoken. 15. Resolution of Questions Direct all questions about the transcription specifications to your local MADCOW Committee Representative.
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